Newcastle University Business School

Staff Profile

Dr Fiona Whitehurst

Senior Lecturer in Management


Fiona has been with the Business School since completing her PhD in the Centre for Urban and Regional Development Studies at Newcastle University in 2006 and is now a Senior Lecturer and researcher in the Centre for Knowledge, Innovation, Technology and Enterprise (KITE).

She is now Director of Impact, supporting academics in the Business School as they apply their research to make a difference to pressing problems in organisations, policy and wider society. She is also theme leader for the Enterprise in Society theme of the Newcastle Institute for Social Renewal.

Fiona is currently leading a project called Captured, piloted with co-invest from the UK Commission for Employment and Skills and now part-funded by the North East Local Enterprise Partnership, which is exploring the ways in which anchor institutions, such as universities, business schools and large firms, can support small firms in their region to develop leadership and entrepreneurship skills

From 2012 - 2016 Fiona was Director of Accreditation for the Business School, leading the School's successful drive to achieve triple accreditation from the three leading international bodies that quality assure the activities of Business Schools (EQUIS, AACSB and AMBA). Prior to that, she was appointed as Director of Engagement for the Business School in September 2009 and developed the MBA Sustainability Challenge with Procter & Gamble; the Herbert Loebl Export Academy with RTC North, HSBC and Ward Hadaway; and the Business of Sustainability Week with Santander.

Fiona graduated with a first class degree in Land Economy from the University of Cambridge in 1990 and subsequently worked in relationship banking for NatWest Bank for 9 years.


Research Interests

Fiona completed a PhD in Economic Geography at Newcastle University in 2005 looking at the use of clusters in economic development policy and retains a research interest in the interactions between firms, and other entities, particularly in the marine technology industries. She also has a strong research interest in regional economic development policy and the way in which firms interact with universities.

Other Expertise

She has been involved in a variety of research assignments including a report on Smart Specialisation in the North East of England for the North East Local Enterprise Partnership: an identification and assessment of sectoral strengths in the North East for the regional development agency One NorthEast; a study of the implications of an emerging regional policy for higher education in England for Universities UK and a study of the impact of the higher education institutions in the Yorkshire and the Humber Region for Yorkshire Universities. Work from her PhD contributed to an EU FP5 research project CRITICAL (City-Regions as Intelligent Territories: Inclusion, Competitiveness and Learning)

Current Work

Fiona's main current research relates to writing up the findings of an ESRC Business Engagement project. This project aimed to identify the ways in which firms, particularly small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) in the subsea engineering company could work together to promote their industrial sector and tailor skills provision for their requirements. This led to a collaborative project with Newcastle College and the development of two specialist subsea degrees, in addition to a range of practical activities to engage young people in the engineering sector. 

Fiona also held a curriculum development grant to produce a range of entrepreneurial video narratives for use in teaching across the university. This project led to a joint research project with Dr Janine Swail looking at student perceptions of entrepreneurship.

Esteem Indicators

Member of Subsea North East Executive Committee


ESRC Business Engagement Funding £75,300 (April 2008-April 2009)


NBS8035 Understanding and Managing Creativity